Name Peter Shae Stuart
Age I am no longer in single digits. I have run out of fingers and toes to count!
Where are you from
I am from Brisbane, Australia and have lived in Queensland all my life. I didn’t fit in that well at school, a bit of a misfit. Hairdressing was my first career of about 20 years which included running my own business. I travelled to the UK, married, and moved to a 30 acre property in the country north of Brisbane. After travelling to India twice with my wife, I started a new career in the disability sector of the Health Industry. I am now settled back in Brisbane.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
I have recently received 5 star reviews for my book, When Shepherds Dream! I am presently engaged in a novel on Judas Iscariot. Written in the first person by Judas, it is a quasi autobiography. I believe that history gives Judas a bad rap. We know little about Judas apart from what the Bible tells us. I paint him in a sympathetic, understanding light. Having so said, my Judas is no saint. He murders three people in my story, including two Roman soldiers and his own uncle. The story is written in such a way that we side with him and understand totally why he did the things he did. Though it is a work of fiction, there is a lot of research involved.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I loved doing essays at school. I usually topped the class in this area, and English was my best subject. Writing was an innate talent that revealed itself early.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I think when I started writing poetry in my late teen years (double digits). I wouldn’t necessarily say I considered myself a writer then in the formal sense, but it was then that I developed the gift and got serious about it. I think most people consider a writer as one who is published. Certainly that is the case with an author. So now I am both.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
Spirituality is a common denominator in all my writing. When Shepherds Dream is my first published book. Surrender was the inspiration. I was a very difficult place in life where I had to surrender to my situation in order to advance. By way of therapy, I diarised my thoughts and feelings each day. I came to realise that what I was writing could become a book.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I dislike long chapters. WSD is 318 pages, and 55 chapters. I write to engage readers at the level of the heart.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
I thought that to start the title with an adverb sounded more intriguing than a plain ‘the’, hence the ‘when’. I think that ‘When Shepherds Dream’ invites query; what are shepherds dreaming about? ‘When’ makes you wonder, “What happens when shepherds dream?” The suggestion is that it must be spectacular. And it is.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
No. As writers, we shoot arrows but we cannot determine where they fall. That is not up to us; I don’t want to force a message on the reader. I think that 20 different readers will grasp and interpret my story in 20 different ways, including ways that did not occur to me when I was writing it. Ever is it so with any book. One particular aspect may be very important to one reader, but mean little or nothing to another. If I engage the reader in a way that is relevant and revelant to them, then I am well content. To me that is the magic of good writing. If a story is written with depth and dimension, it will evoke a multitude of thoughts, messages and interpretations.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Based on experiences and events – for me, very much so. I think you can only write about what you know about. My book is fiction, but I found that I had been drawing on my own subconscious – for the whole story, really. I was almost finished the book before I realized this. I can see significant parts of me in the characters, particularly the lead characters of Sandhu and Shonti; even the female characters of Sekeeta and Amrita.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I think everything we read influences us, if only in some small way. Notably, ‘Initiation’ by Elisabeth Haich; Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; the Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough are three that stand out. There are so many really. Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Fraser is a favorite biography. Also Grandmama of Europe by Theo Aronson and Queen Mary by James Pope-Hennessy.
As far as a mentor goes, for me it does not have to necessarily be another human. We can learn from Nature, for instance. I am mindful of the fact that Robert the Bruce learned a very important lesson from a spider. For me, that is what made him a great man; he was a king and a great warrior, but not above learning from a mean creature such as a spider. He showed that he had humility in allowing a spider to mentor him. Following this encounter, he went on to win a great victory at the Battle of Bannockburn. We can learn so much from animals and children also.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
A ‘new’ author for me is one that is new to me. I recently finished ‘Secret Sacrament’ by Sherryl Jordan, a New Zealand author. It was written a decade or so ago. I am drawn to novels about spirituality. Sherryl has written about a totally fictional time and place in this work. I think you have to be clever to pull that off, and I think that she did it very well.
‘Favorite’ for me is not fixed; it changes and develops along with me. A favorite author is one I am really engrossed in at the time.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
The local community, of which Libraries are an important part.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I do not write full time and I don’t write to earn a living, so I do not see writing as a career in the conventional sense.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I would not. I am very happy with the finished result.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I think it originated in my finding as a school student that I could write. It was one of the few things in my studies I could be excited and passionate about. In primary school we were given words for homework that we had to make into sentences to show we had a grasp of the meaning. It was something I was good at and my sentences were often read out to the class.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
“I have a secret,” the scene proclaims – but silently – for those with ears to hear and eyes to see.
When the hush descends and the silence weaves its spell, those aware and Present know that they are in sacred space. They recognize the sacred space as a ‘thin place’, a bubble where Time and Space compact to form a portal to other dimensions.
Is it magic? Many believe that it is. The Celts certainly think so, for myth and magic are woven into the fabric of their identity. The mists of Time that forge their identity are not only Past, but also Present, and alive to them. They recognise a thin place when they come upon it, for they are born fey and know how to wonder. They know how to tap a secret. They believe that the thin place silently draws us to itself. We don’t find thin places, they say; thin places find us.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Being concise. It is powerful to frame much into just a few words – like a haiku, for instance.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
I travelled to India twice prior to writing the book where the story is set, but to date I have not travelled post publication.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
I did. I presented my chosen images to the graphic designers who worked with them until I was happy with the result.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Condensing it down to its present form of about 93,000 words. I knew it needed to be tightened up. I did a big slash and burn before I presented it for edit. It is really hard to ditch work you have labored over, but it was well worth it.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned a lot from research I needed to do. I also learned how to be consistent and not lose sight of the dream. Consequently, my book has now been published.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
I can see When Shepherds Dream as a movie. As it is set in India, it would probably be a Bollywood movie. I am not familiar with Bollywood actors.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Advice that was given to me was, ‘edit, edit, edit’. I followed that advice before I presented my work for a professional edit. It paid off, for my editor said that my work was ‘clean’, although she did have a few minor suggestions for change.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
It is my pleasure to pass my work on to you, my readers, and I hope you enjoy reading my work as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
‘The Great Magician’ by Christian Jacq; another favourite author. I have read most of his books.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first I remember was ‘The Knights of the Round Table’ by M.F. Doolan. I was eight and still have that book. I am fascinated by Arthurian legend to this day.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Religious jokes and British comedy make me laugh. Beauty can make me cry; also suffering. I have cried in my grief and also at the grieving and plight of others. Breakthrough, be it mine or that of others can make me laugh and cry tears of happiness. It is a joy to see people breakthrough and win.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
There are many, but I would say Elizabeth 1. She was such a colorful and accomplished personality! A great survivor, she only escaped the block and made it to the throne because of her wits. She could hold her own against any man, (including those in the present, I believe). I think she truly loved her people as she claimed, but I don’t think the same could be said of some of today’s leaders.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why?
I do not want a headstone or a memorial of any kind. I don’t believe in taking up space on this Earth when we are gone from it. My writing will be a legacy that will speak louder than any plaque or headstone.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies?
I am a champion creative stitcher. I like long walks. I also meditate, draw, read, and enjoy getting out into the garden.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I have watched the British TV series ‘Merlin’ starring Colin Morgan and Bradley James three times. I enjoy phychological thrillers, also period and historical drama.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: Eggs; scrambled or poached usually. Salads are a favourite and I enjoy my own yoghurt. I love apples.
Colours: Purple and violet.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
The fact is that I am a writer, so I can only truly think from a point of where I am.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
Amazon Authors Page http://www.amazon.com/Peter-Stuart/e/B01FWXXASS/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1